Simply Streep is your premiere source on Meryl Streep's work on film, television and in the theatre - a career that has won her three Academy Awards and the praise to be one of the world's greatest working actresses. Created in 1999, we have built an extensive collection to discover Miss Streep's work through an archive of press articles, photos and video clips. Enjoy your stay.
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Will Meryl Streep remain the queen of summer counter-programming at the box office? The acclaimed Academy Award-winner stole ticket-buyers away from big-budget blockbusters with her previous hits The Devil Wears Prada and Mamma Mia. Now, she’s going up against the action-heavy G.I. Joe in the tasty comedy Julie and Julia, playing the original celebrity chef Julia Child. Parade.com’s Jeanne Wolf found out that Streep’s delicious performance as the cooking legend was based on someone close to home.
“Ever since Dan Aykroyd did his impression of Julia on Saturday Night Live, everybody remembers her famous phrase, delivered in that distinctive voice, ‘Bon appetit.’ In a way, I had to get rid of that Dan Akroyd version of her, which is a parody. I just tried to inhabit her as a person and I didn’t think about, ‘does this look right’ or ‘does this sound right?’ Julia had lived a long time before she went on television. She was a middle-aged woman. I think after she watched herself on television her personality got a little bigger, but it was her joie de vivre that I tried to connect with.”
It was all about her own mom.
“Julia’s personality was so much like my mother’s that I felt very familiar with it. My mother had an undeniable sense of how to enjoy her life, and she made every room she walked into brighter. She really was something, and all my life I wanted to be more like my mother. So this is my little tribute to that spirit. Unfortunately, in my own life I can be a real whiner.”
As for home cooking.
“The cookbook my mother used was Peg Bracken’s I Hate To Cook. I remember when I was 10 going over to a friend’s house and she and her mom were seated at the kitchen table and they were doing something with what looked liked tennis balls, these big white things. They said, ‘We’re making mashed potatoes.’ I went, ‘What do you mean? Mashed potatoes come in a box.’ I’d never seen a peeled potato. My mother’s motto was, ‘If it’s not done in 20 minutes, it’s not dinner.’ She had a lot of things that she wanted to do and cooking was not one of them.”
Learning to cook like Julia.
“I’m not so good, but I got better. Julia said you just have do it over and over again, and then you’ll get it right. Finally, I decided to do a test by inviting Stanley Tucci, who plays my husband in the film, and his wife over for dinner. I made blanquette de veaux and it was not done by the time they arrived. Stanley came in and completely took over in the kitchen. He was like, ‘Is that what you’re going to do? No, seriously, I’m just asking. Is that what you’re going to do? I can show you an easier way.’ Boom! It was out of my hands. Stanley’s a great chef and I’m just a cook.”
Her sharpest cooking tip.
“It’s all about good knives. Chopping onions is a breeze if you have a knife that’s nice and heavy with a good cutting edge. Julia said, ‘Always wash your knives, sharpen them and put them carefully away. A sharp knife is everything.'”
The passion she shared.
“Julia was mad about butter, and who alive isn’t? Butter does make things taste better. For a long time, Julia really resisted the whole idea that you could seriously elevate your cholesterol by partaking of that wonderful substance. Finally, the facts were incontrovertibly presented to her and Julia had to kind of do a U-turn and agree that butter should be used in moderation. She was such a vivid and straightforward personality that it was very difficult for her.”
The challenge of becoming an actress.
“It was committing to acting and thinking it was a serious enough thing to do with my life. I was like, ‘What are you going to do with your one wild life?’ I thought acting was sort of silly and vain even though it was the most fun thing that I’d ever done, and it remains that. But I was like, ‘If I enjoy it that much it can’t be good for me.’ Finally, somebody asked me, ‘What do you really want to do?’ And I blurted out, ‘I’m an actor.’ I realized I finally had made the commitment. But it took a long time.”
Why she still has lots of time to spend in the kitchen.
“I’m like every other actor, I’ve been unemployed more than I’ve been working. Actors just have a lot of down time. So I’ve never gotten used to being out of work. It’s a very uncertain life and there are only a few people that would sign up to be married to somebody who’s an actor. My husband’s an artist and he understands that, the vagaries of the job. I just take every day is a miracle and I’m really glad that I’m still working and that people are not sick of me, even though even I’m sick of me a little bit.”